Flames engulfed a power pole in Overland Park, KS, Friday night, leaving thousands of people without electricity.
The natural gas blaze broke out at 151st Street and Switzer Road shortly before 8 p.m.
Fire officials tell us that Atmos Energy crews were digging in the area and struck a 4-inch line, which caught fire. The resulting flames shot high enough that they damaged street lights and nearby equipment.
Atmos crews quickly worked to stop the flow of gas.
"I opened the door and there was just a huge light, you could already feel the heat coming off of it and you knew it was going to start to go pretty big at that point," said neighbor Greg Oakleaf. "They didn't seem too concerned. We have the fire department just down the street so that's one of the reasons why I hung around outside to see if they told us to get out of here (evacuate)."
Atmos had someone on the backhoe that was right next to the power pole when the gas ignited, yet no injuries were reported.
"There were three crews on three corners of this intersection opening dirt, trying to find the lines to clamp that line off when that backhoe had some type of ignition source catch that line and ignite and the end result – they lost their backhoe, but luckily everybody was safe. They made it off the machine and out of the area with no injuries," said Capt. Bill Harper with the Overland Park Fire Department.
Police said crews with Atmos and other utility companies will continue to work through the night and they hope to have the line fully repaired as well as any other repairs completed by Sunday morning.
KCP&L reports that up to 3,000 customers were without power. Power was restored by the following morning.
The intersection of 151st Street and Switzer was closed while KCP&L repaired damage to power lines and equipment.
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Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:38 AM EDT2014-07-23 14:38:30 GMT
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